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Broken Arrow School, Business Leaders Urge Legislators To Boost Teacher Pay

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Broken Arrow Superintednent Dr. Jarod Mendenhall speaks at a joint news conference Monday at Oak Crest Elementary. Broken Arrow Superintednent Dr. Jarod Mendenhall speaks at a joint news conference Monday at Oak Crest Elementary.
Now that voters rejected state question 779, a sales tax for education, business and city governments are pressuring lawmakers for a solution. Now that voters rejected state question 779, a sales tax for education, business and city governments are pressuring lawmakers for a solution.
Owasso superintendent, Dr. Clark Ogilvie. Owasso superintendent, Dr. Clark Ogilvie.
BROKEN ARROW, Oklahoma -

School and business leaders in Broken Arrow are planning a joint effort to raise teacher pay.

They're reacting to the defeat earlier this month of the sales tax for education.

Some chamber of commerce and school leaders were at Oak Crest Elementary Monday morning to urge legislative action on teacher pay.

Broken Arrow Schools is feeling the effects of a tight budget, with students pouring in and state support expected to drop again next year.

Now that voters rejected state question 779, a sales tax for education, business and city governments are pressuring lawmakers for a solution.

11/8/2016 Related Story: Oklahomans Deny Sales Tax To Fund Education

Broken Arrow mayor, Craig Thurmond said, "Our citizens are looking for a permanent solution to education, not a Band-Aid fix."

The group, arranged by Broken Arrow, included district leaders from all around Tulsa who said they expect new cuts in the coming year.

Owasso superintendent, Dr. Clark Ogilvie, said, “In my district alone, this past year, last spring we cut $1 million. We cut 50 support positions and some administrative positions. So, here we are again, going into the spring of 2017, the session, and we've been told to expect as much as 10 percent cut in revenue this time around.”

Broken Arrow lawmaker Michael Rogers said he believes education will get some new attention this year.

“It's important that we address salary because anybody who does a job, especially a tough job like a teacher, you've got to make sure that when you go home at the end of the month, that you see some sort of respect, that you have something you could live off of,” he said.

The Broken Arrow Chamber said education funding has become a problem for business because recruiters are aware of the crisis.

“When they're trying to recruit people to move to Oklahoma to take high-paying jobs, education is one of those things where we've got a negative perception that we've got to fix,” said Wes Smithwick with the Broken Arrow Chamber.

11/14/2016 Related Story: OK Group Pressuring Legislature To 'Pass A Plan' To Improve Education Funding

The group is not telling the legislature how to do it - and that's in line with an online movement called "Pass a Plan," asking the legislature to come up with the money somehow.

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